Maya is a 3D modeling, rendering, animation, simulation program that was developed by Alias Corporation in 1998, then owned by Autodesk officially in 2006. It runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Maya is an industry-leading software and an excellent choice for 3D modeling. It offers powerful features and tools for NURBS surface modeling, procedural modeling and simulation. However, you can extend its potential even more using plugins and scripts for modeling.
We are going to talk about some of the best Maya modeling plugins that you can use to save time and take your modeling to the next level. We are updating this post continuously to ensure that we’re bringing you the latest and greatest tools for your Maya-based projects.
How can these Maya modeling plugins be an asset?
As a 3D artist, one of your most precious resources is time. Keeping yourself at the top of your game will certainly mean meeting your deadlines. Some of these tools are used for quick and simple tasks and others are really going to change the way you model in Maya, we are going to start the count with :
Quick Pipe is a curve-edge-based path creation tool for Maya. With its selection-based formula, Quick Pipe lets you create simple shapes like tubes, pipes, corrugated pipes, and more complex meshes like tunnels, caves, floaters, floating bevels, welding, and many more.
This tool comes with basic shapes that you can choose from to help you define the look of the pipes,
Quick Pipes seems to have a limited practical usage but I think if you are creative enough you will use it to speed up the modeling process and do cool stuff with it.
Find the plugin and additional information here, the standard version is for free: https://gumroad.com/l/qpipe1a
With Super Bricks Tool – you can Procedurally create Complex & Organic looking Brick-walls within a matter of Seconds or Minutes depending on the final result you want to end up with. Even though the practical use of this tool is limited I would say it can be a nice time and energy saver when it comes to creating bricks. Just Define your Custom Base wall shapes using Nurbs mesh.. and you can use lots of parameters to have a high degree of control over the look & design of your wall.
If you’re interested, you can find the plugin here: https://gumroad.com/l/superbricks
Cable is a script for Maya that will help you to easily create and edit cables. It’s also really quick and you can generate tons of cables in a short period of time.
This script can be really effective time and energy-wise when you are working on a scene that requires tons of cables like buildings electricity cables, streets also can have a lot of cables and you can also use this tool for any creative project that requires this type of geometry creation.
You can find the plugin here: https://gumroad.com/l/Cable
This is a simple script that eases the clothes retopology workflow.
Couture will take care of all the redundant tasks (create blend-shapes, wraps, and so on..) that you can encounter when you’re trying to have a nice and clean mesh from a scanned garment or from Marvelous Designer.
Florian the creator of this script had a brief beta period for the toolset, but now the tool is available for all, and for free. Florian created an introduction to the script that shows everything from installation and how the tools work, and what to look out for when retopologizing clothes for characters. Part of the toolset looks similar to how you can edit and manipulate UV’s in Maya’s 3D space directly in the Maya viewport.
The script is totally free of cost, you can get it here: https://gumroad.com/l/rVWY
13-Voronoi Mesh Generator
Voronoi Mesh Generator is a Voronoi tool for creating intricate organic patterns, which is available for Maya. It is a script that lets you create Voronoi meshes from any object.
Generally speaking, Voronoi patterns are a great basis for shattering, cracking effects, or just abstract organic-looking shapes.
The script offers a simple panel that allows you to control cell density and smoothness. The results are a seamless polygon mesh. It also allows artists to create Voronoi meshes based on any arbitrary mesh shape as input.
You can find the plugin and additional information here: https://gumroad.com/l/VoronoiTopo
BrickIt will allow you to build quickly and easily Lego models in Maya using procedural methods, you can create any type of mesh whether it be a character, a vehicle, or a spaceship.
Brickit comes with ready to use pieces that will be the building blocks for the models you will work on.
From the first look at it, it does not seem like it can do much but, when you start looking at what artists can do with this kind of Maya modeling plugins you will be amazed, I think that this tool for Maya is fun to use also it allows you to be creative in a different way.
If you want to get this plugin you can find it here: https://gumroad.com/l/BrickIt
With EasyTerrain is one of the Maya modeling plugins that will help you make landscapes in a short period of time.
It comes with a real-world high map database, which means if you want to make the landscape of a particular country you can use the real-world data and make exactly the same terrain that you see in the real world. (currently, it’s limited to some areas but the developers are planning to cover as much of earth as possible)
In EasyTerrain you can use any shape whether it’s a simple sphere or a person or maybe an island this means you can get creative and use this tool for other purposes that it was not originally intended for.
EasyTerrain texturing is a simple and easy way to texture the landscape you generated, and you don’t need to be an expert to make your terrain look beautiful.
The plugin is available here: https://flippednormals.com/downloads/easy-terrain-for-maya/
It is an Artist-friendly grooming tool for Non-destructive hair pipeline.
This tool is one of the Maya modeling plugins used by a lot of studios to work on a lot of popular shows and video games.
Ornatrix can be used to grow any type of object, besides hair or fur. Ornatrix allows you to quickly change parameters such as strand twisting. You can even turn the mesh back into guides if you like.
Get the plugin here: https://ephere.com/plugins/autodesk/maya/ornatrix/downloads.html
KTools is a Booleans Toolkit and collection of scripts intended to improve the current booleans workflow in Autodesk Maya.
The toolset will allow you to more easily and directly in viewport manipulate objects after you make boolean operation and move/rotate/scale, edit on component level and even use modeling tools like Bevel, MultiCut, Extrude..etc while at the same time still keeping boolean operation active.
Besides boolean operation, KTools has also a lot of other tools that will most certainly save you time like selecting Hard Edges only, then apply Bevel on them, Dissolve Edges to help you clean the mesh.
Interested? find the plugin here: https://gumroad.com/l/ktools
Qualoth is also one of the Maya modeling plugins that take polygon meshes as input. Then those input meshes are triangulated internally for dynamic cloth simulation. Qualoth is being widely used for the production of 3D feature animations and visual effects for digital doubles in movies. Some famous feature animations from world top class animation studios are using Qualoth for cloth simulation. Though it is not aimed for real-time applications like games, Qualoth has been used for numerous game cinematics.
Find it on the official website: https://www.qualoth.com
This is one of the best MAYA modeling plugins used mainly for Creating procedural buildings and generating cities in a very short period of time using Maya. you can use ready-to-use building blocks or any other custom model you prefer for the project at hand.
Structures is a python script for generating procedural structures, buildings, machines, and many other things in Maya. Works in Maya 2013 and up. NOT compatible with Maya LT.
You can find this awesome plugin here: https://gumroad.com/l/UELQtt
ModIt will support and speed up your hard surface Workflow with the automation of simple and repetitive tasks like Primitives creation, duplicate merge, and so on.
This is also another one of Maya modeling plugins that will save you a lot of time with the different ways it can shortcut the modeling process. For instance, you can use it to add small and repetitive pieces such as screws, nuts, bolts, or any other type of geometry that needs to be inserted with the base mesh you originally created. You can also use splines or paths you create to be followed by a repetitive pattern of small pieces of geometry such as a necklace, a chain, or anything like that.
If you’re interested in getting this plugin you can find it here: https://gumroad.com/l/ModIt
speedCut is a modeling toolset for speeding up boolean operation in Maya.
Some of its features are:
- Non-Destructive workflow,
- Easy to re-adjust shape,
- Easy to bake cutter and restore.
SpeedCut is similar to the other Maya modeling plugins on this list because it allows you to create complex hard surface models like mechanical machines, robots, weapons, or any other complex and highly detailed complex hard surface geometry.
Get it for free here: https://gumroad.com/l/speedCut
PlugIt is also one of the best Maya modeling plugins that will help you detail your Hard Surface models. With one click, you can add pre-built Plugs into your mesh! You also have control of scale, rotation, connection, and so on. It works both on flat and curvature shapes.
I think tools like plugIt are some of the best Maya modeling plugins especially for hard surface artists who create complex robots, spaceships, weapons, and so on. Because this type of work involves creating so many small pieces and plugIt can be really handy. From the first look at it, you can realize that what this tool does in 3 minutes you will probably need 3 hours to accomplish, and I believe this where the future of modeling is headed.
You can find the plugin here, in addition to extensive information about it: https://gumroad.com/l/PlugIt
Exoside’s Quad Remesher is an automatic Remeshing tool available for Maya. From what can see quad Remesher is very good at changing the topology of any type of mesh whether it be a simple 3d text or a complex model that has millions of polygons.
With specific workflows, retopology becomes extremely important, yet it is pretty time-consuming when you deal with a lot of objects in a scene. There are some retopology tools out there that help the process and Quad Remesher is one of those retopology tools that will make the process easier and faster.
The tool processes the source meshes composed of, triangles or a mixture of polygon types, and converts them to evenly spaced quads suitable for animation.
QuadRemesher automatically converts source geometry into clean all-quad meshes with a user-specified target polygon count. Also, the tool can be set to generate evenly sized quads or set quad size to vary with surface curvature. You can control quad sizes manually by painting vertex colors.
You can get the plugin here: https://exoside.com/quadremesher/quadremesher-download/
ADN Modeler Tools is one of the smartest Maya modeling plugins that comes with multiple useful tools, ranging from simple scripts to highly complex tools that completely redefine your workflow. ADN Modeler can help you speed up the modeling process in Maya by saving you time when it comes to modeling tasks that are less fun and more tedious.
When you use AND modeling tools, things become way easier and much more fun, 3d software are simply not yet equipped with the necessary tools that will make complex hard surface modeling process easier, and this is when tools such as ADN tools comes to place. You can use the Boolean and chamfer to do pretty much everything you need.
The standard license is totally free of cost and you can find it here: https://gumroad.com/l/adntools
HardMesh is Ideal for hard surface modeling. Its primary application is to create complex objects starting from simple shapes, but it can also be used to add details to any hard surface model. With HardMesh you can blend together any kind of mesh, without having to worry about the topology and by just concentrating on the creative process of modeling. Everything remains editable until you are not satisfied with the shape. Any kind of modeling operation can be done on the input meshes, from moving vertices to splitting or deleting faces.
A rich set of operations gives you the freedom to blend your meshes in many ways. You can always switch among the operations, from a union operation to the new panel operation.
If you want to get this plugin, you can find it here: http://www.hard-mesh.com/buynow